Leader: Workplace parking levy

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IT is enough to fill every motorist with dread. An innovative new transport policy for Edinburgh designed to encourage people out of their cars and bring in much-needed revenue for the council.

Sound familiar? Well, on the plus side Labour’s new idea is not a revival of its congestion charge plan. Nor is it an extension to the tram line.

As we reveal today, the party is considering whether Edinburgh could follow Nottingham’s lead and introduce a workplace parking levy.

It is not party policy at the moment and it is, perhaps wisely, unlikely to be included in the manifesto for the council elections in May.

After all, the prospect of yet another payout will enrage many motorists who already feel fleeced by soaring petrol and road tax costs, to say nothing of street parking charges and associated penalties.

But we should be careful not to dismiss it completely out of hand. The scheme would work by charging firms around £300 a year per space if they offer parking to ten or more staff.The revenue would be pumped back into transport improvement schemes.

At least that is the plan. In Nottingham businesses are warning they will have to lay off staff, while others haven’t bothered signing up and face the threat of possible court action – and the charge has been increased before it has even come in.

So Labour has a battle ahead to convince drivers their plan is a good one, though as the majority of city drivers don’t benefit from a free space and instead have to pay for parking they may well be on to something. If they can link it to a guarantee of more investment in public transport they may yet win this tricky argument.

The proof will inevitably be in the pudding and we will watch how the scheme works in the East Midlands.

After all, the council in Nottingham has already announced how it is planning to spend some of the windfall – on extending its tram network.

Remarkable Kaya

Today we reveal a £1 million payment to accident victim Kaya McInnes, who was horrifically injured in a crash when she was just 13.

The News has followed Kaya’s story closely since the accident and while she will always have to live with the impact of the crash, it is heartening to hear that, at the age of 18, she is now beginning to live as close to a normal life as possible.

To even get to this stage, having had to learn to walk and talk again, is a remarkable achievement.

We hope that this much-deserved compensation payment will prove some help on the road to recovery and wish Kaya and her family the very best for the future.